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Costco: Not Right for Yorktown and Not a Done Deal

Why Costco is not good for Yorktown and should not go forward. This blog also provides information to the public that will enable them to voice their concerns about the project.

Why add unfair competition to Yorktown’s merchants in this economic downturn?  Why create a traffic nightmare on 202 that would keep Yorktown residents and ambulances from getting to Hudson Valley Hospital Center as quickly as possible?  Why damage the environment by cutting down trees and creating tainted water run-off from a 151,000 square foot building and paved parking for 600 cars – run-off that would affect the neighboring trout streams and the Croton Watershed?  Why change the look and feel of historical Yorktown? 

Yorktown has rolling hills, incredible forests, lakes, streams, creeks, footpaths, farms and a great mix of businesses run by our neighbors.  We live in a special place. This is why people move here…for some quiet…for some nature…for the trees…for community…not so that it could slowly morph into Yonkers’ Central Avenue or Highway 17 in New Jersey.

Allowing Costco into our home is the first step toward this other, very different future.  We don’t need it. Don’t want it. Costco doesn’t belong here. You can do something about it. But you have to act fast. There is only a small window of time that the Planning Board is open to hearing from the public.

The developers and politicians who favor the project have worked hard to make it seem like the project is a “done deal.” It is not. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (“DEIS”) has been accepted by the Planning Board, but you have a say. Your chance is now. Call or write the Yorktown Supervisor, Council members and the Planning Board to let them know how you feel about this project. They have the power to stop it. (See yorktownny.org for all contact information.)

The public is invited to the Planning Board meeting on Monday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Nutrition Center Room at the Yorktown Community & Cultural Center, 1974 Commerce Street. Please join us to voice your opinion. Your input is vital to Yorktown’s future.

For further information, please visit: www.nocostco.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Janice September 26, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Oh, a hotel! That's JUST what we need. Are you paying for that one, Jennie?
Bob Rohr September 27, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Well Evan you can sue the Town if you like. I can play what if all day. Jennie's street could have made it when they built Yorktown Commons and they could have continued that small Town theme down Front Street, but they put Commercial things there instead. I will leave you with a quote from the Comp Plan: "Policy 2-4: Monitor future development and population trends, and regularly update the Land Use Plan and Comprehensive Plan. • As new development occurs, portions of the Land Use Plan may no longer make sense, or new ideas may spring forth. The Town should regularly reevaluate and update the Plan, so that it remains current and relevant. The Town should establish a reasonable time horizon for a comprehensive update." The authors realized it was not the final word, and things do change. Evan, Robert has a point. A man with your fire and obvious interest in the betterment of the Community should run for Town Board. This way you can effect change from the inside rather than pushing from the outside. Think of all the good you could do.
Jean-Francois de Laperouse September 27, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I am not against reasonable commercial development-- I wish that there was a Lowe's or Home Depot in town or close by-- but the fact that the Taconic Parkway does not allow commercial vehicles is an inescapable problem. In addition to all of the additional projected consumer traffic, the supply trucks will have to use route 202 from both directions. Additional tax revenue is great but it would be terrible if 202 became a four lane highway east of the Taconic which remains primarily residential. Aren't most large stores located adjacent to multi-lane truck routes? Also, except for food and home improvement items, I research and order almost everything online these days and this seems to be a growing trend: http://investorplace.com/2012/07/how-amazon-com-will-kill-costco/ Is there a generational or culture divide here that needs to be considered?
Evan Bray September 27, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Bob, I can't say it any clearer. I'm not going to sue the town because of Costco. It's easy picking though. Just fair warning. Perhaps you are right. Perhaps the plan needs updating after 2 years. That's fine, but in its current form, the Costco proposal doesn't conform to it. That's all I'm saying. Lastly, I am a 34 year old who bought his first home for his family of 3 daughters and a baby of unknown sex on the way to Yorktown just over two years ago. I didn't research local politics as a part of my due diligence in buying a house. If could offer any advice to prospective families considering Yorktown as a place to call home, take pause. Fool me once... I have no interest in politics. Especially not now. You can have your Costco. I'm sure you hate me for eating up to many school resources/wasting taxes. I was only apprised of the 2 child policy at the last town board meeting I attended (the TB literally, jokingly said that in reference to a new housing development in the Lakeland district; very heartening). I promise to not comment about it any more online or at any future town meetings in person. I will move my family out of town as soon as possible, but will likely wait till after this school year while I hope to get above water. I apologize if I offended anyone.
Bob Rohr September 27, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Evan, congratulations on the pending arrival! You can never waste money educating children. You can waste the money that could have been used educating children. There is a huge difference. I am sure Lakeland can absorb one more Kid!
Jonathan Nettelfield September 27, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Good debate above....at least when it's about the issue and not the personal stuff. A couple of observations from the perspective of smart growth, the idea, not the organization. ("smart growth", perhaps a terrible name because it implies that if you don't buy in you are not "smart", is in fact a collective set of ideas that looks forward to how we are going to be living in the future and plans accordingly). First observation is to amplify the comment made by Jean-Francois which is that increasingly we are going to be getting stuff delivered after ordering it online. In the retail world there has been buzzing about the impending decline of the concept of a big box store (really a warehouse to store everything you might need to buy) in favor of boutiques where you can go and touch and feel and try things and then order online. The concept behind Apple stores and increasingly retailers like LL Bean, Crate and Barrel etc illustrate this trend. So, from a PLANNING perspective, does it makes sense for a community to invest its growth potential into an retail model that may be coming to the end of its shelf life?
Jonathan Nettelfield September 27, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Second observation realtes to Bob Rohr's post on the flexibility of a Comp Plan. Like any large document, you can always pull quotes to make your case and yes, a comp plan is a living document. That said the VISION of the plan is to focus development into 5 urban hamlets (which is "smart" growth because it avoids the continuation of suburban sprawl and its attendant problems) so the proposal to focus development into a vehicle corridor that will suck the commercial oxygen from nascent hamlets is a little more drastic than "flexible".
Mark Prudenti September 27, 2012 at 01:34 PM
@Jean , You wish Lowe's or Home Depot in town or close by... because those definitely won't drive small businesses out of business! Are you kidding me? They will drive local hardware and appliance stores out of business and offer very little to the community. At least Costco offers residents items used every week such as gas and food!
Scott Carson September 27, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I understand those who want a Costco and those that do not. Reasonable people can disagree. But if you are on the side that does not want the negative things that would come with this Costco location, please join our email list. It will keep you up to date on meetings and things you can do to make your voice heard. Just click here: http://eepurl.com/pGxfn
Bob Rohr September 27, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Johnathan, the document was intelligently written. The authors were intelligent enough to realize that change is inevitable and you need a mechanism to adapt. "The Town should establish a reasonable time horizon for a comprehensive update." This is supremely important, it should be not left to age to appoint where it become irrelevant. I am observing that what has been set up is an "us and them" mentality. I have observed this before and I can tell you from experience it is not a good thing. A Town like anything else has a reputation, damage that reputation and you have damaged the Town you live in. Negative stories seem to last for a long time. You should all think about that.
Bill September 27, 2012 at 04:46 PM
That nursery is wholesale only and I challenge any of you folks to provide proof that you've actually made a purchase there unless you run a landscaping business. And is it really half the site? Let's have proof. The only other proposal I've ever seen for that location was also retail, an upscale shopping center with a restaurant or two. The comprehensive plan calls for an office building. I don't see how any of those are any better than Costco. Nanuet is most definitely not an urban area, there are condo's right next door to Costco (with Lowes across the street) and it's a one lane road to get there. Brookfield is also a suburban area. I'm sure there are plenty of other examples as well.
Bill September 27, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Isn't that exactly what they want? Retailers would never waste their time trying to build here knowing what sort of hoops they'd have to go thru (and remember that Costco was a sponsor of the first Yorktown Festival and Street Fair two years ago, and they're a sponsor for the 3rd year in a row, that's how long this has been going on). If retailers bail on the town, then the opposition would have accomplished their goal. Then they can wait for their mythical local shopping hamlet (that even if it get built will never have enough people who will shop at to make profitable, and wouldn't it also take business from the downtown stores that Jenny so loves?) to spring up along with office space that no one wants to rent, no less build. All this talk about the Town Board being more business friendly gets chopped off at the knees when prospective developers realize that they really don't have the power to make things happen because a bunch of people living in the past can stop progress, even if the Town Board wants to move forward.
Bill September 27, 2012 at 05:21 PM
BTW Jennie, can I assume you will no longer be hassling me about not using my real name here? I will ignore the fact that several of your cohorts have posted that people who post here without their real name have no credibility.
Plamena Pesheva (Editor) September 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Mark, thanks for your comment. Here is an article written a few months ago from a meeting Costco representatives had with Yorktown Chamber of Commerce members. http://patch.com/A-tLTf as well as a more recent story about the relocation of the proposed fueling area. http://patch.com/A-wXh7. And if you're interested in writing a blog on Patch on the issue and expressing your opinions and thoughts, just as some members of the Yorktown Smarth Growth group are doing through this blog post, you are welcome to do that. Patch blogs give anyone the power to easily share ideas and expertise. To join our community of Local Voices and start blogging, go here http://yorktown-somers.patch.com/blog/apply.
Jonathan Nettelfield September 27, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I guess I would argue that such a radical change to the spirit and intent of the Comp Plan (without the time passing to change the conditions on which the plan was based - it's a little over two years old!) would imply that it's not irrelevant. Anyway, I usually prefer not to get into a debate with one person on these boards, but something you say does require a strong and immediate rebuttal. Forgive me if I am inferring something you do not intend, but your admonishing tone, implying that we might somehow be contributing to damaging Yorktown's reputation is way off the mark. Also that we might be trying to set up an "us and them" mentality. Leaving aside who is us and who is them, that is again unwarranted. We are trying to have a public debate and provide a counterweight to the often one-sided arguments put forward by the deep pocketed and financially motivated development community. This is what I am thinking about.
Bob Rohr September 28, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Well Johnathan unfortunately a lot of people are not on the same page as you are on as you can see on most of these threads. I see a post about regret moving in here, advising people not to move here, and moving ASAP, that is pretty strong. People read these things and those that are doing their due diligence will read them too. My point is, bashing a Town is probably more damaging and has a long lasting effect. This effect will last longer than the effect of whatever ultimately goes on that property will have. Do you see my point about preserving the reputation of the Town and how that perception effects the future of the Town?
Jonathan Nettelfield September 28, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Yes, your point is very clear. I guess we have a different perception about what folks are saying. I am hearing that they want to keep the character of the town that has attracted them. You apparently are reading something else entirely. Anyway, that's not important. I would agree that the hyperbole used on both sides of the argument gets a little shrill; something that does not advance the discussion and coarsens the debate and that's a disease that increasingly afflicts the whole country. I fear it blooms under low risk anonymity afforded by the internet. Pity. I respect the fact you post under your own name and post a picture, as I do. Perhaps we can encourage more people to do that!
Bill September 28, 2012 at 02:03 AM
You're too funny, Jenny (unintentionally), claiming that Costco gas station customers will be lining up out to 202. And if we can all agree that traffic on 202 is terrible today, then why are you not doing a single thing to fix the traffic problem? Have you written letters to your assemblyman and state senator insisting that they fix this life threatening problem today? All you do is complain about the one project that actually might make it better by spending money to resolve it. Personally, if I had a serious injury, I'd want to go to Mt. Kisco, anyway. And once again, the approved comp plan calls for office buildings there, which will make the traffic worse during the rush hour -- when we all agree it is at its worst. THAT is not very smart.
Bill September 28, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Jean-Francois, there aren't many people who responded to that guy's posting who thought he knew what he was talking about. Most thought he was being ridiculous and was dead wrong. A perfect compliment to the people posting these articles.
John S. Bartolotta September 28, 2012 at 11:11 AM
You are absolutely right Michelle..Everyone says how lovely our town is ..Yet you drive down 202 and see that rotten broken down building, and all the vacant commercial properties and ask yourself why is this happening ? We need projects like Cosco and many others to have a prosperous future here in Yorktown.
James Bankhart September 28, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Jennie, prior to changing you user name here, i seem to recall you were a COSTCO member and would gladly drive to Yonkers to shop. I wonder how much fuel that consumed and the amount to greenhouse gasses you added to the environment to preserve our quality of life?
Your Neighbor Jennie September 28, 2012 at 07:19 PM
James, actually...I'm a member of the Yorktown BJ's (not Costco). If I mentioned Yonkers...it's only because I was making mention of the location of one of the closest Costco's to our area.
Evan Bray October 01, 2012 at 02:56 PM
And for the record, Lakeland Central (roughly half of Yorktown), will receive no benefit from Costco through school taxes. http://yorktown-somers.patch.com/blog_posts/why-were-moving-our-family-out-of-yorktown
Bill October 01, 2012 at 04:19 PM
That is true about Lakeland not getting any tax benefit from Costco, which is unfortunate since I live in Lakeland. On the other hand, The Cortlandt Town Center *is* in Lakeland.
Evan Bray October 01, 2012 at 04:57 PM
It's hard to sell the tax benefit to over half the town if they don't get any actual tax revenue; as you concede, zero (0) dollars. The point is that the tax benefit is overblown. Will be offset by other costs.
Bill October 01, 2012 at 05:03 PM
And what costs would those be? I want actual dollar costs to the town, not stuff like extra traffic and alleged quality of life reduction. Also, they would still benefit from the town taxes (while not as large as the school portion) and sales tax income that goes to the town.
Your Neighbor Jennie October 01, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Yes, it is curious as to why you won't include your last name...
Your Neighbor Jennie October 01, 2012 at 06:09 PM
At least my post comes with a picture. Why don't you post a pic of yourself! :) ...and then we can call it even Steven... ;)
Bill October 01, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I've added a photo to my profile. I hope you like it.
Christine Wright October 01, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Interesting comments. I graduated from Yorktwon High, but now live in Poway, CA. Can't believe Rexall is still there. They're doing someting right. I have been a Costco shopper for 30 years. It will be, in my opinion, an asset to Yorktown. Costco is a community oriented business that has friendly staff, great selection,and pricies. All the comments that I have read regarding the concerns of bringing Costco to Yorktown was also brought up in my town. None of them happened. You will be happy with a decision to have Costco build. Glad to see Yorktown is still such a caring community. My town reminds me of Yorktown.

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